Are these big brand names all heading for Tunbridge Wells?
6th June 2018
THE new owners of Royal Victoria Place [RVP] are now in talks with leading retailers about taking space in the shopping centre and the signs are looking good.
British Land plans to spend tens of millions of pounds over the next few years on a major makeover of the complex.
The developer is one of the biggest in the retail sector in Europe and has strong relationships with most leading stores.
These include the likes of the fast fashion retailer Zara, the department store Debenhams along with H&M, River Island, Currys/PC World, Burton and TK Maxx.
All of these brands trade in other shopping centres owned by British Land. Three of these are: Meadowhall in Sheffield, Southgate in Bath and Fort Kinnaird in Edinburgh.
The low cost clothes retailer Primark also has premises at the Sheffield and Edinburgh sites and has been previously reported by the Times as showing an interest in set-ting up at RVP.
The developer is also able to attract top cafés and restaurants, with popular, casual dining chain Nando's top of the list along with Handmade Burger Co., Pizza Express and Pizza Hut.
Tunbridge Wells Borough Council, who own the centre's freehold, announced the sale from Hermes to British Land last month. It is thought the price was £96million.
Both the borough council and British Land have declined to comment specifically on possible new stores at RVP.
However, industry insiders told the Times that discussions between the developer and potential new clients would be 'well underway by now' and that those with existing ties to British Land would be 'certainly among those approached'.
British Land has a 98 per cent occupancy rate in their shopping centres and manage assets worth £18billion.
A company spokesman said: 'We actively manage our assets to ensure they are great environments, inside and out.
'We invest in asking local people what they like and dislike about the asset, the brands and facilities they would like to see and use this insight to attract the right brands and decide which improvements to make.'
Council Leader David Jukes said: 'I was pleased to hear that British Land has completed the purchase of Royal Victoria Place.
'British Land is one of the UK's largest retail landlords and one of Europe's largest Real Estate Investment Trusts.
'We have been in dialogue with them for some months and it is clear that they are extremely well qualified to manage the shopping centre and take the centre forward.'
Cllr Jukes added: 'It is clear from our discussions with them that as well as being attracted by our catchment area and position in the retail hierarchy, they were particularly interested by the range of exciting developments planned for Royal Tunbridge Wells.'